How to Make a Reel on Instagram: The Complete Guide for 2024

Instagram Reels have exploded in popularity over the last year, dominating the platform and changing the creative video landscape. The short-form vertical video feature provides a powerful new way to be discovered by the algorithm, engage your audience, and build your following.

For even seasoned Instagram creators and marketers, the rise of Reels brings endless possibility, but can also feel overwhelming to tackle as part of your content strategy. How can you stand out from the crowd? What types of short-form video clips work best? What production and editing tricks should you leverage?

This guide will teach you everything you need to know how to make a Reel on Instagram that hook views and convert followers – whether you’re just getting started or perfecting your strategy.

Reel Basics: What Are Instagram Reels & Why Are They Effective?

In their most basic form, Instagram Reels are multi-clip videos that can run between 15 to 30 seconds long. The vertical orientation keeps content framed for the smartphone experience at the core of Instagram’s appeal.

Key features that set Reels apart include:

  • Multi-Clip Segmenting: Tell engaging stories by stringing together a sequence of quick videos for nonlinear narrative style.
  • Audio Integration: Enhance the atmosphere by adding music, voiceovers, sound effects, and more.
  • Creative AR Effects & Filters: Augment Reels through Instagram’s diverse library of stickers, text styles, graphics and augmented reality enhancements.

Why Are Instagram Reels So Effective?

Many of the top content creators on Instagram today owe much of their meteoric growth to trend-aligned, captivating Reels woven into their feed and stories.

Here’s why the video format delivers unmatched opportunity today:

  • Video Consumption Is King: Views speak volumes. Recent studies show video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. Reels answer the call.
  • The Algorithm Adores Reels: Instagram actively surfaces trending sounds, engaging effects, personalities taking off in Reels. The platform wants to compete with TikTok.
  • Interactive & Shareable By Design: From remixing each other’s clips to sharing the joy simply through views, likes, and comments – Reels foster authentic community building.

Creating Compelling Instagram Reel Content

Cooking up Reels that captivate audiences takes equal parts imagination and strategy. The ideas you choose to showcase and the planning that goes into sustainable production rhythms mutually support each other.

Let’s break down proven ideation methods and content calendars that set Instagram Reels up for success.

Choosing Reel Topics & Themes

While certainly experiment with a variety of subjects, maintain consistency with themes aligned to your brand voice, style and audience interests. Consider weaving in the following types of content as fits:

Educational: Teach viewers an interesting factoid, skill development tip, system overview etc. Sprinkle your niche expertise into easily digestible value.

Entertaining: Comedy, suspense, and heartwarming anecdotes tend to travel far. Lean into your unique personality.

Motivational: An empowering quote or a raw peek into your aspirations resonates with people seeking encouragement.

Informative: Provide listicles that summarize need-to-know details on trending current events, local happenings etc. Alert viewers to what they can’t afford to miss.

Ideas and Inspiration Banks for Instagram Reels

Writer’s block for fresh Reels? Here are proven frameworks you can rely on again and again to deliver value:


Give viewers insider access to your product creation or service delivery process through quick scene splicing:

  • Showcase key steps in building a physical product from parts to whole.
  • Record memorable moments engaging with clients delivering your service.
  • Capture you or staff prepping inventory in the backstage warehouse.

Buzzing work culture also makes for shareable Reels:

  • Montages of friendly moments with your team.
  • Offbeat perspectives of the office environment.


Appeal to viewers’ impulse for easily consumed bits of info by cataloging noteworthy musing in list or carousel form:

  • Countdowns like “9 Biggest Marketing Fails that Backfired”
  • Step-driven transformations e.g. “12 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Sale”
  • Infographics with critical statistics on a complex phenomenon

Production Tips & Tricks

You have the ideas flowing – now it’s time to make them a reality in front of the camera. While Reels have a spontaneous, rough-around-the-edges feel, a few fundamentals taken seriously during recording will go a long way.

Let’s run through key filming practices, essential starter equipment for polished results, and untapped resources to incorporate.

Shooting Vertical Mobile Video

The majority of your audience will view Instagram Reels on smartphones held vertically. Optimizing shot framing even in makeshift settings pays off.

Steady As Possible: Avoid choppy footage by securing your phone firmly into place via portable tripods (more on gear next) or improvising with walls, stacks of books etc. Too shaky? Reshoot that clip.

Multi-Angle Capture: Set up in a fixed scene? Move the camera around to varied heights, distances and angles sliced into the Reel sequence for visual dynamism.

Refine On-Site Camera Settings: Carefully adjust focus, exposure levels, and tap to lock settings balanced across framing experiments so uniformity in clips cuts together smoothly later.

Play With Lighting: Position subjects near ample exterior or accent lighting. For darker scenes leverage portable ring lights, reflectors etc. on affordable budgets.

Equipment & Accessories

Maximize production value without breaking the bank by incrementally acquiring key starter equipment like:

  • Mini Tripods for Under $20: Secure camera positioning
  • Clip-On Ring Lights Under $15: Illuminate faces and objects impressively
  • Mobile Lav Mics Under $25: Amplify crisp audio on the go

As your skills progress, consider investing in tools like gimbals, filters, and wireless mics. identifying the most pressing equipment limitation holding back your content goals and systematically addressing them over time keeps budgets lean.

Repurpose Existing Video & Audio

Don’t limit yourself to original footage. Incorporate relevant lifestyle scenes from stock video subscriptions to set a mood when narrating a reflective monologue.

Upload a screen recording of your latest presentation to highlight a learning moment for followers. The remix culture thrives in Instagram Reels!

Likewise tap into trending audio samples like:

  • Sound bites from a popular Netflix show
  • A snippet of a hit song refrain as you lip sync
  • Viral TikTok music remixes

Editing Your Instagram Reels

You’ve brainstormed creative content ideas and brought them to life through playful filming. Now it’s time for the magic to happen through editing those raw clips into a captivating final story.

Let’s explore helpful steps for arranging your Reel using Instagram’s own mobile creation tools, best practices for fine tuning, and exporting options.

Getting Started Editing in The Instagram App

The Instagram story camera equips you with all the core essentials for straightforward Reel creation entirely on your phone. Just:

  1. Launch the stories camera.
  2. Tap “Reels” at the bottom.
  3. Either film new clips now or tap gallery icon to import existing videos from your camera roll.
  4. Review and trim each video start/end points using the slider tool.
  5. Arrange individual clip sequence ordering via the timeline along the bottom.

With your arranged clips in place, now the creative fine tuning begins!

Applying Instagram Reels Creative Tools

Augment your assembled Reel using Instagram’s signature effects toolkit:

AR Effects: Browse 100s of dynamic filters, interactive stickers and text overlays to elevate visual flair.

Aligned Backgrounds: Select fitting backdrop animations and static images to unify clips.

Music & Audio: The heart of a Reel! Sync clips to the beat of popular songs or viral sounds. Insert voice overs.

Text & Captions: Spotlight key moments with custom captions, floating text tags and emojis.

Take advantage of these enhancements tailored for vertical short form video.

Choosing the Right Reel Settings

Dial-in the final touches through thoughtful configuration such as:

  • Length: 15 to 30 seconds. Determine ideal pace for your narrative.
  • Orientation: Vertical, always vertical!
  • First Frame: This preview image is crucial real estate. Lead with your best.
  • Captions On: Enable text captions for sound-off viewers.

Review on both mobile and desktop to ensure clips sequence logically before exporting the final render.

Posting & Promoting Your Reel

The careful editing process results in a polished Reel you rightfully feel proud of. However, the real make-or-break for that content comes down to how effectively you distribute, promote, and analyze performance once published.

Let’s run through proven posting strategies and critical analytics to consult.

Crafting Catchy & Informative Captions

Like your Reels visuals themselves, accompanying captions must hook attention quickly in tight spaces. Some elements to include:

  • Leading Question – Open with curiosity-sparking enquiry connected to the content.
  • Context – Provide informative yet ultra-concise explanatory background setting up the clips.
  • Call to Action – Rally viewers towards clear goals to further engage, subscribe, purchase etc.
  • Hashtags – Increase discoverability by categorizing the Reel among trending topic labels.

Cross-Promote Between Instagram Features

Don’t silo your efforts. Repurpose attention-grabbing Reels by publishing separately as:

  • Stories which promote your IG bio link
  • Multi-part episodic feed posts

Cross-pollinating content across Instagram real estate compounds eyeballs.

Analyze Performance Metrics

Instagram broadly surfaces Reels through features like the Top Reels feed sidebar.

But pay closest attention to Reels analytics for your profile specifically by monitoring:

  • Watch time
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Saves
  • Traffic sources

Iteration informed by actionable data is how your Reel game levels up over time through ever-increasing reach.


In this comprehensive Instagram Reels guide, we explored their core capabilities in short-form vertical video and why that delivers immense opportunity for discoverability through Instagram’s algorithm. We provided frameworks for developing strategic, creative content ideas and themes that fit your brand and resonate with target viewers.

Production tips covered filming Reels professionally on a budget, acquiring starter equipment, and repurposing media. Step-by-step editing directions showed how to use Instagram’s tools to arrange, enhance, polish clips with effects, music and captions into captivating narratives. Finally, we shared best practices for distribution, promotion, catchy captions, and analyzing performance metrics to continually improve reach. With the blueprint now laid out from imagination to optimized execution, go show the Instagram world your stellar perspective through video. Apply these tips consistently, stay adaptable to what captivates your community.


What apps can I use to edit Instagram Reels?

The Instagram app itself provides excellent built-in tools for basic clipping, sequencing, effects, text and music. More advanced creators often use apps like Inshot, Splice, Vita, CapCut or iMovie for complex edits before uploading the final Reel natively.

Can I download my viewers’ Instagram Reels?

Generally you cannot download other users’ original Reels due to Instagram rights. However you can screen record Reels while viewing them, with audio disabled. Always give proper credit. Consider remixing popular Reel trends legally using features like Instagram’s Remix option.

What should my Instagram Reel caption length be?

Aim for captions between 150-300 characters including spaces. Lead with an engaging question or context setting. Include a clear call-to-action and relevant hashtags. Check captions on desktop to ensure full captions display properly before posting.

What is the best time to post an Instagram Reel?

According to internal data, the optimal times to post are 10am-3pm and evenings around 7pm depending on your audience’s peak engagement windows. Test what performs best for your metrics. Schedule Reels through platforms like for help queueing for high visibility.

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